Downtown Equity Strategy
Update: Consultant Team Selected for the Downtown Equity Strategy
After coming in with the highest ranked proposal, Vision Action Network (VAN) was recommended by the review committee to be awarded the contract for the Downtown Equity Strategy. VAN is a nonprofit convener and facilitator in Washington County with the mission of bringing all sectors together to collaborate on complex challenges. Since their foundation, they have worked to gather people to address critical issues like housing and homelessness, sustainability, aging, behavioral health, education, and racial equity. For the Downtown Equity Strategy, they will serve as prime convener on a multi-disciplinary project team, which includes four culturally-specific community-based organizations: Adelante Mujeres, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Bienestar, Coalition of Communities of Color and the economic consulting firm, ECONorthwest. All of the project team members have substantial histories of partnering with local jurisdictions to develop strategies and tools that advance racial equity. During the project, they will consistently engage residents and businesses in the project area, especially Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) community members. The diverse makeup of the team also provides a firm foundation and wealth of knowledge about common themes which frequently emerge during conversations with underrepresented people.
VAN is privileged to work with such a diverse and capable team. Together with the City of Beaverton staff and elected leaders, we aim to facilitate a planning process that prioritizes the hopes and desires of Beaverton’s most impacted residents, businesses, and neighbors with the goal of realizing a vision for Beaverton’s downtown that is welcoming, inclusive, and economically resilient. – Glenn Montgomery, Executive Director of Vision Action Network
- Project Planning and Management
- Community Engagement
- Strategy Development:
- Displacement Prevention and Mitigation
- Inclusive Downtown
- Institutionalizing Racial Equity Tools for Downtown Projects
- Training for Staff and Decision-Makers
What is expected to be included in this project?
The Downtown Equity Strategy will develop policies, strategies, and tools to guide redevelopment and public infrastructure projects in Beaverton’s downtown.
What is not included in this project?
This project does not include other racial equity efforts unrelated to redevelopment or infrastructure, such as the police operations, the library, or the city’s hiring practices.
What are the main deliverables of this project?
We are hoping to develop policies, strategies, and tools in three main categories:
- Prevent and mitigate involuntary displacement of residents and businesses from the project area
- Create an inclusive downtown, with amenities desired by communities of color
- Update decision-making process to use community engagement principles and a racial equity lens prior to bringing recommendations before Council/BURA for redevelopment and public infrastructure efforts in the project area
Why is the city doing this project now?
The Beaverton Urban Redevelopment Agency (BURA) is poised to change Beaverton’s downtown for generations through significant investments in public infrastructure, private development, and other city programs/activities. This downtown equity strategy is needed to guide these investments and other city initiatives to ensure that downtown Beaverton is an inclusive place for racially diverse communities, and that involuntary displacement as a result of these investments is prevented, minimized, and mitigated.
Review our draft project proposal: Draft Project Proposal
What we’ve already heard from community members:
In these early stages of the Downtown Equity Strategy Project, community input is necessary in helping shape the project's priorities and goals. As our team begins preliminary community outreach, we think it prudent to first recognize prior community concerns and demands from past planning efforts. We believe it is necessary to address these formerly recorded priorities to better inform the project.
The most pressing demands we have heard community members ask for are as follows: First, gathered from the focus groups interviewed in the Leading with Race Report (2018), the top three community demands, listed in order of priority, include:
- Expanding both access and quality of affordable housing, including equitable rent regulations and policy reform
- Building safe spaces, such as community centers, for resources and culturally specific recreational activities and gatherings
- Increased support for local business and transportation access to both ensure a diversity of local services and affordable transport to them
Second, concluded from the Allen Boulevard District Survey Report (2018), the top concerns for the area include:
- Lack of community gathering space and recreational opportunities
- Unsafe environment for pedestrians and bicyclists
- Rising rents and unsafe housing conditions
- Neighborhood appearance and lack of investment
Finally, drawn from the Allen Boulevard Priorities Survey Report (2019), priority outcomes identified include:
- Additional street crossings, lighting and other changes help improve pedestrian safety
- Healthy and affordable housing opportunities for existing residents
- Storefront improvements help existing businesses attract new customers
- Diverse culturally specific events, activities and art bring people together to celebrate
We have heard similar feedback from community members across multiple community engagement efforts, and understand that concerns about displacement and demands for increased community involvement are top priorities. We are listening and will incorporate this feedback into the Downtown Equity Strategy.